A Place Beyond The Priory

 "A Place Beyond the Priory " This is a story about Life in North Shields during the 1900's-1920's Tom Farrow is a third generation coble fisherman, Who meets and falls in love with a young herring girl who has travelled from the isle of Barra in the outer Hebrides looking for work. Margaret Linnie, her two friends Kerstin McDonald and Beth Munro all end up on the gutting line in Tyne Brand - their unscrupulous foreman Albert Mortimer treats all the girls on the line like animals including his wife Lizzie who bares him 11 children. forced into a marriage she did not want, Lizzie is abused by Albert for his own sexual gratification. She was in love with a young Greek boy called Leonidas Kostalas whom she had known from her days at school and lost her virginity to but her father will not allow them to marry- this is a story of love and betrayal and will keep you riveted until the last page is read.


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have married him but Lizzie’s parents would not hear of her daughter being married to a Greek.



Lizzie met Leo again when she worked in Oxley’s cotton mill and he was working for his father, they had gone to the same school, and Leo had been picked on by older boys because of his race. Leo lived in the same street then and they played the same games and became very close. Leo was the first boy she’d ever kissed. Then when she was nine years old Leo’s family moved and she never saw him again until she went to work at Oxley’s Cotton Mill. She was now fifteen. She was coming home one summers evening from work when someone on a bicycle rode up beside her and called her name, she turned to see Leo, he had grown several inches and his dark curly hair was longer. They talked all the way home where he told her that he was now working for his father and they lived in Dockwray Square where there was a large Greek community. Over the coming months she was seeing Leo regularly and one summer’s evening they made love in a farmer’s field among the newly cut corn. She was a virgin and so was Leo and it was something that neither of them would ever forget.

When she was seventeen Leo asked her to marry him, he had just turned eighteen and promised to look after her. She went home and told her father and she was beaten with a leather belt and told never to see Leo again. She disobeyed her father and went to see Leo and she told him what her father had done to her. He wanted to come to her house and explain to her father how much he loved her but Lizzie told him that if he did that her father would kill him for sure. After that she told Leo that she could never marry him and that they must never see each other again. Leo poured out his heart, he pleaded with her to run away to Crete in Greece with him where they could be married but Lizzie could not abandon her family. They were both in tears as they walked away that night and never saw each other romantically again. Lizzie was then courted by Albert Mortimer a cocky young lad who worked on the fish canning plant called Tyne brand of North Shields. They were married in the spring of 1898. She had married Albert more out of convenience than love; Albert was just a means to an end because of her bad home life. Albert wanted a family and wasted no time in getting Lizzie pregnant. Every year she found herself pregnant and life seemed just one long conveyor belt of kids.

Albert had survived the Somme during the First World War and came home to go back to working at Tyne Brand; Lizzie was heavily pregnant with twins. Little did Albert Mortimer know what lay in store for him? One thing was certain Maybeth and Sarah would never know their father.

Leo married Adrianna Petropolis from the Greek community in Dockwray Square and they had two children together.

For years both Leo and Lizzie went their own way until Lizzie found out that Leo’s wife had died of tuberculosis. After the death of Lizzie’s father she made herself look decent and went around to the restaurant called the Acropolis. Leo now owned the restaurant. They sat for over two hours talking like they used to and all the old feelings came flooding back. They had both married for the wrong reasons and it was clear that they still loved each other. Leo loaned her money each week so that she could support her family. She was now thirty eight but still attractive.


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